(re-)Claim, SOMArts

I continue to work through my backlog of shows and exhibits to review, with a focus on exhibits that are still open. One of these is (re-)Claim, which will remain at SOMArts through Friday May 28.

(re-)Claim is part of the United States of Asian American Festival sponsored the Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center (APICC), a month-long festival that celebrates “the artistic accomplishments and the cultural diversity of San Francisco’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities.” The exhibition features work made from discarded objects and materials explores “the redemptive process that renders an object ‘fundamentally new'”. I have seen several exhibitions this year on similar themes – perhaps a sign of the times – and in fact some of the same artists are featured in (re-)Claim, including Truong Tran and Christina Mazza. The other artists featured in this curated show include Mark Baugh-Sasaki, Kathy Fuji-Oka, Su-Chen Hung, and Judy Shintani.

We had last seen Christina Mazza’s work in the SF Recology Artists Program in January, where she also focused on found objects and materials from the San Francisco dump. For this exhibition, she created an impressive 9-foot-by-12-foot site-specific installation.

[Christina Mazza. Site-specific installation. (Click to enlarge.)]

Up close, one focuses on the individual wooden panels that compose the work, and which reminded me a little of the panels from her “Contained Spaces” series from SF Recology (a few prints from that series were included here as well). From a distance, one could better see the landscape elements and the textures that combined both geometric and natural qualities.

Truong Tran featured several works that I recognized from his solo exhibition the lost & found back in February. All of his works in that show were meticulously constructed from recycled objects and materials, many of which he found on his frequent walks around the city’s neighborhood (an activity that we at CatSynth wholeheartedly support). His pieces fit perfectly into the theme of the (re-)Claim show, where they would be seen alongside and compared to the works of the other artists. There was at least one piece that I didn’t recognize from the solo exhibition – it is shown here.

[Truong Tran. (Click to enlarge image.)]

Sculptor Mark Baugh-Sasaki took a very different approach to reclamation. His large sculptures are composed in part from manufactured or processed materials, but have a very natural quality to them, as if they are part of some imaginary ecology. In his artist statement, he refers to them as “objects that are inhabitants of or illustrate the evolving systems and interactions in this new landscape.” I also quite liked his large wooden sculpture A Form Derived from a Constructed Landscape (shown below) and his metal sculpture Relic.

[“A Form Derived from a Constructed Landscape” by Mark Baugh-Sasaki. Image from the artist. (Click to the enlarge)]

We conclude with a mixed-media piece “My Friends” by Su-Chen Hung in which a pair of figures is constructed from a variety of household objects.

[“My Friends” by Su-Chen Hung.]

I would be remiss if I did not also mention the taco trucks that were on hand for the opening. Fusion taco trucks (i.e., assembly of spices and main ingredients from other cuisines in proper taco form served out of a truck) are a mainstay of street cuisine here in San Francisco, and there were two on hand for the opening. I have enjoyed the Asian asada from Kung Fu Tacos at several past events. But I was particularly fond of the paneer and extra-spicy sauce taco from Curry Up Now.